The New Statesman:
“Ondaatje leaps beyond the contemporary preoccupation with a man “finding himself”: his central character does not monopolise centre stage. Patrick’s story is also the story of Canada – particularly of the building of Toronto – and is juxtaposed with the stories of his contemporaries; schemers, dreamers, actresses, immigrant workers, Nicholas the dare-devil bridge builder, Caravaggio the thief. The novel turns on how Patrick, the outsider, finally becomes part of something – a piece of the mural”.
L.A. Times Book Review:
***“Ondaatje’s complex design draws together a vivid romance, a political fable and a celebration of the wonder and harshness of constructing a modern country in a wilderness. The story can seem arbitrary, and it can get out of hand… and there is a marginal surplus of unanchored mysteries …. But the freshness and inventiveness of the writing overcome most of the difficulties. If the pattern is impracticably ambitious at times, the fabric is splendid” ***
The Times Literary Supplement:
** Ondaatje “maps high society and the subculture of the underprivileged in the 1920’s and 1930’s and in the process does for Toronto what Joyce did for Dublin.” **
Many reviewers are impressed with the rich language and vivid images.